Competitive Eating / Drinking Deaths category

Tufts University lacrosse player passes away after hot dog eating contest

WCVB reports that Madie Nicpon, a defender on the Tufts University women’s lacrosse team from Suffern, NY, passed away after choking during a off campus hot dog held Sunday in Somerville, MA. The competition was part of “Play for Pink”, a breast cancer fundraiser. She is the second female student at a New England college to after choking in a charity eating contest in the past 5 years. Caitlin Nelson passed away in 2017 after choking in a pancake eating contest held at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT (WCVB news video | Lohud article)

Comments (6)

Interview with Anne Nelson, sister of Caitlin Nelson

Daily Mail has an article about Anne Nelson, whose father, Port Authority Police Officer James Nelson, died in the World Trace Center wreckage. Another shocking fatality would strike the family 16 years later.

Tragedy stalked Anne again in 2017 when her sister Caitlin (then a 20 year old college student) died in a freak accident when she choked in a charity pancake eating contest.

‘I think that loss is what really made me process my father’s death a little more. Even though I had gone to therapy before, the enormity of it all didn’t really hit me until that happened.’

Anne Nelson’s story is proof that people can live through not one but multiple traumas and still recover. Now 31, Anne tries to honor her sister and dad in everything she does.

She currently works as a special needs teacher at an elementary school, inspired by Caitlin’s studies in social work and her father’s life-long emphasis on education. ‘I take a little bit of both of them in what I’m doing and I try to carry them with me through that.’

Nathan’s Hot Dog qualifiers, restricted to NYC civil servants, were held on top of the original World Trade Center from 1998 to 2000. “Hungry” Charles Hardy won all 3 contests. Very little information about the competitions remains on the internet. Here is a screen capture from the 2002 documentary “Footlong”

Comments (1)

Today marked the 2 year anniversary of the announcement of the passing of Juliet Lee, an incident which remains as shocking and mysterious as it was in 2019. (2019 Eatfeats post | 2020 Eatfeats post)
TMZ.com reports that Henry "Nacho" Laun, famed for his eating challenges on the A & E series "Wahlburgers" and also a competitor in the 2015 Wing Bowl, died from a cocaine overdose.
TMZ.com reports that Henry "Nacho" Laun, co-star of "Wahlburgers" who was famous for his eating challenges on the A & E series and also a competitor in the 2015 Wing Bowl, passed away after experiencing a medical emergency two weeks ago. He was found unconscious in his car while parked at a Massachusetts gas station.
ABC30 reports that Marshall Hutchings is suing the Fresno Grizzlies for hosting a taco eating competition on August 13, 2019 that resulted in the death of his father, Dana Hutchings. The prize was a spot in the MLE taco eating contest that was to have taken place at the Taco Truck Throwdown scheduled for August 17.
A lawsuit seeking damages of 83 million yen (about $791,000) has been filed by the parents of a man who died after choking in a 2016 Japanese eating contest. He was requested to swallow an onigiri (rice ball) that he had stuffed in his mouth at the close of the contest, which resulted in the incident. (original article)
Mothership.sg reports Chinese mukbang star Sun Yi Xuan passed away from cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 19. He was known for livestreaming his high calorie meals on the Kuaishou app, on which he had over 500,000 followers.
Zambia Reports has an article about the death of Happy Kaishala, a 16 year old student at Chabanyama Combined School in Chingola, Zambia, who passed away after competing in a eating contest held at her school.
Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT has settled a lawsuit with the family of Caitlin Nelson who passed away after choking in a 2017 pancake eating contest held by her sorority. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

One year anniversary of Juliet Lee’s passing

Today marks the one year anniversary of Fox 5 DC’s article about the passing of Juliet Lee, which was announced on the MLE website the day before. This remains the only significant information about the shock death, with no additional salient media coverage, autopsies, or criminal investigations having been promulgated since that date. A statement about the passing was picked up by Patch.com and several other outlets, which gave a date for the tragedy as September 9, 2019. Several social media comments contradicted that infomation, and gave her final date as August 16, 2019.

Searching the Montgomery County (MD) police database for mid-August 2019 events in Germantown, MD (Juliet’s hometown) brings up the following incident on which appears to correspond to Juliet Lee’s passing. The record is of minimal interest until the penultimate field, which is “SUDDENDEATHUNDETERMIND”. [I have redacted the address field even though it has only a street name and lacks a house number]

Direct linking to the entry is not allowed; if you want to view it for yourself, the easiest way is probably to go the police database website and search for Crime Report #190039103. This brings up the question: if the incident was labeled a crime, what was the result of the criminal investigation? Other unanswered questions include:

  • If the August 16 date is accurate, why did 24 days elapse between the tragedy and any announcement of it?
  • Who contacted Major League Eating about the fatality and when was that information provided?
  • Was Juliet Lee transported to a hospital and what medical personnel attended her?
  • Other than the Fox 5 article, why was there minimal media coverage of the incident? As far as I know. the Washington Post (Motto: “Democracy Dies in Darkness”) and its associated social media outlets have made absolutely no mention of Juliet Lee’s passing. (Washington Post search link)
  • Why was the record in the Montgomery County police database categorized as “WORKING CODE” ?
  • Why was Juliet Lee’s husband (or ex-husband), Joe Callow, not mentioned in the statement about her death; Juliet’s daughters are the only relatives mentioned.
  • Juliet Lee’s final video for Major League Eating was uploaded on August 22, six days after August 16. When was that video filmed and who recorded and uploaded it?
  • Why was there was no posting about Juliet Lee’s passing on MLE social media until the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest in July? A post at the bottom of majorleagueeating.com was the sole mention by the organization.

2019 EatFeats post about the fatality. An anonymous comment appears to have some inside information about the incident.

Comments (5)

Shine.cn on big eating video deprecation

Shine.cn has an article about the deprecation of big eating videos on Chinese streaming platforms which mentions the passing of a host in Shenyang, Liaoning Province just before he was to broadcast himself eating a large bowl of pork belly in June. Some Chinese big eaters have rebranded, with @大胃mini (big stomach mini) changing her ID to @梨涡少女mini (dimple girl mini). The article calls into question the authenticity of some of the videos:

In reality, the body simply cannot handle extreme quantities of food every day. To keep viewers, hosts must cheat, either throwing up after the show, or cutting scenes where they spit out food they’ve chewed, making viewers believe they have actually eaten everything.

Loyal followers are very defensive when questions are raised about unusual eating habits, saying their favorite hosts are just “born that way” and there are frequent quarrels with others who question the authenticity of videos.

update Aug 22 The BBC also has an article about the decline of eating videos.

update Aug 24 The New York Times has an article.

Comments (2)

Sacred Heart University in Bridgeport, CT announced they will sue its food service provider that produced the pancakes used in a fatal pancake eating contest held March 2017. (The current athletics director of SHU is former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who ate 120 pancakes to win a contest when he was a college student.) update Tim Janus has offered to testify in favor ot Chartwells, the food service provider.
Bill "El Wingador" Simmons posted a tribute to the winner of Wing Bowl 2 and 3, Kevin "Heavy Keavy" O'Donnell, who recently passed away following a struggle with cancer. He is one of five multiple Wing Bowl Winners: Simmons (5), Joey Chestnut (3), Molly Schuyler (3), Jonathan Squibb (3), O'Donnell (2). update Crossing Broad and the Gloucester City News have obituaries.
News.ru reports (translated) that a woman passed away after choking in a cake eating contest held in Moscow on February 15. (via Nikolay Smirnov) update Metro.co.uk has a video of the contest and gives the name of the deceased as Alexandra Yudina. update Daily Mail and Mirror have articles.

Woman passes away after competing in Australia Day lamington eating contest

update Jan 29 Daily Mail has an article about the deceased giving her name as Megan Moon and her age as 51.

update Jan 27 Yahoo, CNN and the BBC have articles. The hotel has posted a statement on its facebook page.

News.com.au reports that a 60 year old woman passed away after choking and suffering a seizure while competing in an Australia Day lamington (sponge cake) eating contest held at the Beach House Hotel in Hervey Bay, QLD. (Newsweek | Daily Mail | SMH video)

Comments (22)

Hentgee Lim has an article in medium.com about pretending to be a college friend of Keigo Kirino, who passed away due to choking in a rice ball eating contest, and interviewing his family.
A Creators.com column by Scott LaFee mentions the recent passing of Juliet Lee, which still has a completely unknown cause.
Daily Mail reports that Subhash Yadav passed away after being challenged by his friend to eat 50 eggs in Uttar Pradesh, India. Doctors ruled that his death was due to complications from overeating.

RIP Juliet Lee 1965-2019

MajorLeagueEating.com has sad and shocking news: an obituary for Juliet Lee has been posted. No details about her passing are provided and I have not been able to track down any additional sources of information.

update Fox 5 has an article with these quotes from George Shea

“Juliet was in very good health and if you think of the number of times competitive eaters attend contests each year, it might be 3-10 contests a year so its not over the course of a year, an extraordinary addition of calories or both. …i have never heard of any impact like that. I can say that it certainly had nothing to do with competitive eating,” said Shea.

update Sept 23 A commenter gives the date of Juliet’s passing as August 16, more than three weeks before the date of September 9 in the MLE obituary. A comment on a Germantown Pulse facebook post also gives August as the month of passing.

Comments (122)

Competitor in Fresno Grizzlies taco qualifier passes away

update #5MLE have made their first social media update since Tuesday’s tragedy with an Instagram post about Badlands Booker’s new video. The Sacramento Bee has an article The family has set up a fundraising page on facebook

update #4 Yahoo.com has an interview with the family of the deceased. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office announced that choking was the cause of death.

Another tweet promoting Tuesday’s contest as a MLE qualifier has been deleted (Original URL) Here is a screen capture:

update #3Saturday’s contest has been removed from the MLE schedule.

update #2 Saturday’s MLE contest has been cancelled (Fresno Bee article)

The Fresno Grizzlies have deleted the June 26 tweet promoting last night’s contest as a MLE qualifier. Here is a screenshot:

update The Fresno Grizzlies have posted an official statement which denies that last night’s contest was MLE sanctioned or a qualifier for a MLE event. The contest was promoted as awarding a spot in Saturday’s MLE contest. The Fresno Grizzlies held qualifiers in 2017 and 2018. Both competitions were won by Zach Armas, who took 6th and 5th place in the MLE events.

The Fresno Bee reports that a competitor in last night’s taco eating contest at the Fresno Grizzlies ballpark passed away. The competition was to have awarded a spot in Saturday’s MLE contest. I believe this is the first fatality connected with a sanctioned event in American competitive eating history. Details about the incident:

Fans at the game said a man collapsed to the ground in the middle of the taco eating contest. Emergency medical technicians then attempted the Heimlich maneuver and CPR before paramedics arrived in an ambulance and tried to resuscitate him, fans added.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the man collapsed.

Comments (62)

NZ Herald reports that Philip Andrew Ludermann passed away on June 29 after choking in a pie eating contest held at a rugby club in New Zealand. Stuff.co.nz also has an article about the incident with quotes from Nela Zisser.
A new playground in Clark, NJ was dedicated to Caitlin Nelson, who passed away after choking in a pancake eating contest on April 2, 2017 at Sacred Heart University.
Unscrambled.sg reports that a Japanese woman passed away last week after choking during the "Onigiri challenge", an attempt at eating a rice ball without drinking in under 30 seconds. The incident was livestreamed on her youtube channel. (translated Korean article).
24 year old beauty therapist Bethan Gaskin passed away after she choked after attempting to see how many Jaffa Cakes she could fit in her mouth in Bourne, England on February 22.
Next Page »